SparkLabs to launch a startup accelerator in South Korea’s “smart city”


SparkLabs, one of the leading incubators in Seoul’s rapidly growing startup ecosystems, announced today that it will launch its Internet of Things Accelerator in Songdo International Business District in early 2015. A $35 billion private real estate development that will contain 80,000 apartments, 50 million square feet of office space, and 10 million square feet of retail space when it is completed next year, Songdo is one of the world’s first specially designed “smart cities.”

Sometimes accelerators accelerate startups, and sometimes they accelerate themselves. SparkLabs, the Seoul-based accelerator founded by Jimmy Kim, Hanjoo Lee, and Bernard Kim is doing just that, as it announces it will open a second accelerator specifically for ‘Internet of Things’ startups. Set to launch in early 2015, the as-yet unnamed accelerator will be based out of South Korea’s Songdo International Business District. That six square kilometer bit of land was once a giant pile of sand, but thanks to a US$35 billion effort from the Korean government, the territory is slowly (perhaps too slowly) transforming into ultra-connected, ultra-automated, ultra-green city of the future. In a short feature, The Atlantic depicts Songdo as urban district that’s a little sleepy and not quite at flying car-level futurism, but one where a tech-minded tourist might get a kick out of its waste management infrastucture.

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